Have you ever heard the term "affluenza?" Also known as rich kid syndrome, it's basically a condition in which someone is so rich they don't know how to function like an actual human being. This condition is more common than you would think and makes people unable to do everyday tasks from doing the dishes to using an ATM.
In these stories, people recall the times they've run into people who have a serious case of rich kid syndrome. Let's just hope it's not contagious!
Content has been edited for clarity.
Rich Dad Probs
“I played football in the local kids league. One kid from another team was basically untouchable as his dad was a major sponsor of the league and would donate money for uniforms, drinks etc.
His son was a pretty good receiver, but didn’t like getting hit, and his parents made a big deal of leaving their son alone so he can develop his skills. He was insufferable. Anytime he scored a touchdown, he would do over the top celebrations and mock all the other players, his teammates included.
Then came high school. Most of the kids from the league ended up in 1 of 2 schools. He went to mine (and some other players).
During tryouts, he did well. The coaches were mostly focused on skills and minimal contact during the first few rounds of cuts.
The final round was when things got interesting. Full contact was permitted and he got rocked over and over again. No one was actually trying to tackle any harder than normal, it’s just this dude didn’t know what to do when he got tackled. So he screamed and cried a lot.
He didn’t make the team.
Then, his dad came down to the school and offered to donate money for uniforms and some other goodies for our sports teams.
So he made the team and again we were told to take it easy on him a bit. So we did. But the other teams didn’t. And he went up against some of the players he mocked previously. And they remembered. Our quarterback kept passing to him, and he was getting repeatedly smashed. Over and over again.
It was the only time our team cheered for the other team. He quit playing football after that.”
Little Joey: Future Firefighter
“I once had a mom ask if I could open up the back of our ambulance so her kid could see what was inside since he ‘wanted to be a firefighter’ (I’m a medic, not a firefighter). I agreed on the condition that he wouldn’t touch anything.
Of course, the second the doors open the kid hopped in and went straight for our expensive monitor. I told him, ‘No, that’s dangerous and could break.’
Then he started screaming, ‘I don’t care, my mom will buy it.’
The mom said, ‘It’s fine, just let him play with it. If it breaks, I’ll replace it.’
I had to physically pick him up and carry him out of the ambulance since she didn’t even try to control him. While this is happening, we were paged out for a call and this vile woman suggests that she could pay double our hourly wage if we stayed for a few more minutes so her little heathen could explore/destroy more of our equipment!
Get outta here with that crap, lady. You’re willing to delay an ambulance so you don’t have to deal with precious little Joey’s tantrum? Unbelievable.”
The Classic Rich Kid Bully Trope
“The dude who relentlessly bullied me in school was also the son of one of the richest people in the city. One day a teacher caught him with his hands around my throat and I was pinned against a wall. We were both taken to the teachers meeting room where it was explained to me that we should try and get along and that we should apologize to each other.
Did I mention his dad also built the flash new cafeteria for the school that year?
He was caught on numerous occasions with me in some state of distress and every time they found ways to make it both our problem. His dad pumped a lot of money into that school.
He also flew his friends on his private airline to Manchester United games so nobody stood up for me because they could lose their privileges. My saving grace was a lot of his mates in the early years of secondary school turned on him in the later years because he was such a jerk.
Man, I’m clearly not entirely over it.”
Self-Reliance Is For Losers
“I used to work for a family that had a cleaning lady come every other day. None of the kids made their own bed, made their own food, washed their own dishes…not even loaded a dish into the washer. They just left them on the table for someone else to pick up. They had never done their own laundry. When the son had football practice, I watched a teenaged boy have a meltdown sobbing and cursing their maid for not throwing his uniform into with the wash because he didn’t know how to do it himself. Their two oldest are about to have a very interesting Freshman year in college.
When I was in college I roomed with a girl who lived like this too. Her mom did everything for her to the point where she couldn’t function as a normal adult. Her mom would drive 11 hours to clean this woman’s room for her. Her mom would get really snarky with me like self-reliance was a loser quality. While it is really easy to learn to wash your own clothes, she couldn’t do it and just said, ‘Oh well I won’t have to. When I graduate I’m gonna get a high paying job and have everything done for me! I wasn’t raised to be domestic like you!’ For the record, I wasn’t raised that way. I did my own cooking and laundry because my mom couldn’t be bothered to do anything but watch soap operas and Lifetime movies.
Guess who couldn’t hack taking care of herself after college and had to move back in with her mom?”
A Million Dollars Wouldn’t Make A Difference
“Back in high school, we were doing one of those icebreakers where we passed a beach ball around and whoever caught it had to answer the question their thumb landed on.
There was this one kid who has proclaimed being rich numerous times. He was always talking about his parents owning a known pizza place and how he drives an expensive sports car caught the ball. The question he landed on was, ‘If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?’
His response was somewhere along the lines of ‘a million dollars wouldn’t make any difference in my life.'”
Too Rich For Public Transit
“Two girls, both nice and fairly level headed but also just raised too freaking rich.
One would take a taxi everywhere in town. It was a very safe, small college town with free campus buses and she’d taxi across campus. She lived two blocks away from me and would take a taxi from her dorm to my house. Google maps says it’s a full 4-minute walk. She swore she just had a terrible sense of direction and couldn’t figure out where we lived, but you’d think after the first embarrassingly short taxi ride she’d throw our address into google maps and just walk.
The other would regularly complain about people not knowing how to manage their money. It took a while to figure out but eventually, it clicked that she actually meant very poor people didn’t know how to invest their money in stocks and bonds. Then one day we were having a conversation where she revealed she didn’t think a house in Detroit in 2010 could possibly cost under $1 million. I told her I grew up in a nice $180k house and she thought I was dumb or lying. I shattered her world when I showed her my home on Zillow. When she graduated college she complained about how much stuff cost all the time, it was nice seeing her learn the value of a dollar finally.”
How To Use An ATM
“I went to University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). We had a large population of international students, some of which were very rich. My freshman year, a friend told a story about a kid who didn’t know how to use an ATM.
What happened was that this kid flew over from Asia somewhere for when school started. They were at the bars. You only needed to he 18 to get in bars in Urbana, 19 if you’re in Champaign. I think it was at most three weeks into the school year when he ran out of cash. His parents gave him $5,000 when he flew over and he had run out already somehow.
Since he didn’t know how to use an ATM (his parents always gave him cash and I guess he didn’t want to use a credit card) he asked said friend to withdraw cash for him. My friend offered to show him how to use an ATM. Nope, he didn’t want to learn. Just gave him his card. My friend needed to know his PIN, and also explained how you shouldn’t give your PIN to anyone. He explained how he was lucky that he was a good guy and wasn’t going to scam him and how it could have gone much worse if he gave it to a bad guy. The overseas kid called his parents for the PIN and said it didn’t matter who he gave his PIN to because there’s always money in his account and it wouldn’t run out.
He asked said friend to withdraw $5,000, but then they had to explain to him the max is usually $250-$300. The had a fit and was like, ‘How am I supposed to survive off of only that much?!'”
Not Poor, But Not Rich
“I went to middle/elementary school with some very wealthy people. Typically I was oblivious enough to not really realize it, but two instances come to mind:
In 5th grade, we did some an exchange trip type of thing with some kids in Canada. On the flight over there, one of my classmates said, ‘Wow, this is crazy. I’ve only ever flown first class before!’
Later, in 8th grade I was at that same kid’s house (an absolute mansion on top of a hill, with the long landscaped entrance drive, marble-floored entrance hall with stairs winding up either side, etc), and he and a girl (who had been dropped off in her dad’s ‘newer’ Ferrari) started having a discussion comparing the merits of their relative in-home movie theaters. Like, not just a living room with a cool A/V setup, but full-on movie theaters with rows of seats that could seat about 50 people.
My family wasn’t poor, but that was when I realized we weren’t rich either.”
Money Can’t Buy Everything
“I had a friend in high school whose dad was uninvolved. He was raised middle class like myself and lived with his mom and stepdad. After high school, he worked towards becoming an electrician and was saving for his first apartment.
His dad eventually came around when he was right out of high school and started giving him money here and there when he needed it. His dad owned a large company on the east coast and was a multi-millionaire.
Soon his dad convinced him to quit trade work and gave him a job at his business. Shortly after, he was promoted to a managerial position he wasn’t qualified for and paid way too much. He’d be super reckless while on conference calls and nobody questioned him since he was the bosses son.
His dad bought him his first home (almost half a million dollars) and multiple cars. He took up horse racing and, quickly, we had nothing in common. Gone were the days of dumb teenage stuff, going fishing, hiking and video games together. He quickly found a girlfriend whose dad was a multi-millionaire. She was 30 and still putting everything on daddy’s credit card. I couldn’t keep up with their lifestyle and very quickly we faded as friends. After he and his girlfriend broke up, she told me that he was actually severely depressed and almost drove his car off a bridge multiple times. Deep down he was having issues with wanting to live up to his dad’s lifestyle and standards, but ended up losing his old friends and life. It’s too bad. I haven’t seen him in probably four years now. We tried to reconnect a few times, but it just doesn’t work anymore.”
He Had To One-Up Everyone
“I knew a kid that was so spoiled at home that he would throw straight up temper tantrums if our group didn’t do what HE wanted. I remember all of us were going to a party and he wanted to go to the movies. We all voted and the party won. So we’re all being cool, hanging out, and playing rock band. Dude got SO MAD that he ended up grabbing the drums while someone is playing it and slammed it against the ground and just left walking home.
Another time we were all admiring a Volkswagen Bug that I’d gotten. He got all upset, left, and came back with his moms Mercedes. No license to drive and didn’t even tell his mom. I remember his mom calling him obviously in trouble, and he just said, ‘Shut up, mom!’ I couldn’t stop laughing for like an hour.
It was like every time someone in the group had something, he had to show them up. On the spot. I’ve seen this kid go and buy a Nintendo DS impromptu JUST BECAUSE someone in the group showed up with one. We stopped talking to that kid right when all of this started to happen.”
They Never Hesitated To Show Off Their Wealth
“I attended an international high school in Ho Chi Minh City, where a lot of new-wave millionaire’s kids live. The school was ridiculous, a third of the kids were expats (perfectly lovely kids), a third were local Vietnamese kids whose parents were working their tails off to send them to a private school, and the other third were these millionaire kids.
They wouldn’t ever hesitate to show off their mummy and daddy’s wealth. They’d pull up to school in Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s etc. etc. and if their Rolls Royce didn’t come on time to pick them up after school it would be a straight phone call to their other driver to COME PICK ME UP RIGHT NOW.
They’d be such jerks 24/7 to the non-rich locals and were constantly bringing up the most trivial things and complaining about them. I’m literally not exaggerating here when I say I’ve heard things like this: ‘My maid bought me the WRONG Louis Vuitton bag! I TOLD HER it was the TAN BROWN one not the LIGHT BROWN one! Ugh, I can’t believe it. Now we have to send her on the jet to Shanghai to get it.’
They all paid and used family connections to get into Harvard, Stanford, UPenn etc. and even now constantly complain on Facebook and Instagram about how crap their residence hall food was so they just hired some freaking personal chef or something. Mind you, these kids were the DUMBEST bunch I’ve ever seen. One of them literally was clueless about the most basic facts but still got into business management.
I despised the lot of them. Glad I’m in Europe, far away from most of them.”
A Day At The “Cabin”
“My parents worked at a huge sprawling estate owned by rich oil people. The place had a mountain on the grounds. Their ‘cabin’ was a log cabin mansion with 8 bedrooms.
Once, first and only time over 10 years of my parents living there, the oil tycoons decided to ask my parents to bring us to visit with their grandkids, same age. It was the early ’90s and we were around 6-years-old.
We played around with little styrofoam planes you’d put together a little bigger than your hand. We had a blast. I thought it was fun. I remember doing that, then eating a popsicle and heading home.
Turns out, I found out years later from my parents that worked there. All of the kids had a meltdown that we never witnessed. It was in another room of the mansion. They wanted a new VCR and were told they’d get one that day. Instead, they were stuck playing with poor kids and dollar store toys.
We were just told everyone was tired and needed a nap and it was time to go.”
Need Financial Advice? Try Tax Evasion
“Each year during the summer, my ex-girlfriend and her family would throw away ALL of their clothing and buy a completely new closet of clothing in Paris. They make sure that the clothing gets destroyed too and not recycled.
She was flabbergasted when I told her that earning 100k+ per year in The Netherlands is quite an unusually high amount of money.
When I went on trips with her and her family, we would go 180 km per hour or faster. When I asked her dad, he would say that it was cheaper for him to get everywhere quickly and pay fines than to drive according to the speed limit.
She never once in her life went to anything else than luxé resorts. When I took her camping last year, she was HORRIFIED to see what actual camping looks like.
She genuinely believed that poor people were poor because they were lazy and that if they had the right morals they would be rich in no time.
When asked how they earned so much, her dad told about tax evasion techniques and how they give Polish immigrants way under minimum loan because they don’t complain about it to management, which her dad is part of.”
Sometimes They Just Don’t Get It
“I grew up absolutely dirt poor. I’m 28 and I often have to help my parents pay their bills still. However, my wife comes from money. The effect on her is minimal as her parents were self-made and taught her to work for everything she has. Sure, if we were destitute they would bail us out, but they aren’t handing out gifts. But because of this, she ended up going to a really nice school in ‘that part of town’ and all of her friends come from money. Some of them from very old money. Their parents bought their first cars, put them through college where they never had to work, paid for their weddings, and put down payments on their houses.
They are all really awesome people and I love having them in my life, but sometimes they just don’t get it. They don’t understand that no, we can’t go out to Europe with you guys for two weeks because we gotta work, and just can’t afford it. Our mortgage is due this week. No, we can’t really afford to eat at that place the third time this week, our dog had an emergency visit to the vet.”
They Didn’t Realize How Wealthy They Were
“There was a guy at my work who drank Perrier instead of the filtered fridge water like everyone else. He also drove a Porsche, even though it was his first job out of college.
Basically, he got a girl 10 years younger than him pregnant and so his parents stopped letting him live off his money and ‘keep going to college’ and told him he had to get a job. One day at work he told me ‘unfortunately my grandma won’t pay my bills anymore.’
I later met the girl (who seemed cool, but similarly affluenza-y). She had a brand new Porsche SUV for driving her infant around and parking on campus to go to school. They owned a brand new house. Even though they had a 1-year-old, they went to Europe on vacation in the early summer. The girl was our summer intern and left her BEAUTIFUL Coach bag just sitting on her desk all day (all the other women in our office lock up our cheap Target purses because we’ve had issues with people stealing change out of desks). The weirdest part was that they didn’t seem to realize how wealthy they were.”